Burger King is the subject a class-action lawsuit a few months after an executive admitted the newly introduced Impossible Burger is being cooked on the same grill as meat.
A group of vegans filed the suit, arguing that the contamination from being cooked on the same grill undercuts the advertisement of Impossible Burgers as a vegan-friendly choice at the fast-food chain.
Vegans steer clear of all animal products, including dairy, meat, and in some cases, even honey.
Phillip Williams said in the suit that the Impossible Burger he bought and consumed in Atlanta was contaminated by meat byproducts, reported TMZ. There were no indications on the menu that alerted him that the vegan alternative would be cooked on the same grill as meat.
Chris Finazzo, Burger King’s president in the Americas region, said in August that the Impossible Burger would be cooked with the same broiler as regular burgers and chicken.
He told Bloomberg that the patties would be prepared separately, in an oven, if a customer requested.
“We use the same cooking method,” Finazzo said. “This product tastes exactly like a Whopper. We wouldn’t want to lend our name to just anything. It looks like beef, smells like beef, has the same texture as beef.”
Data from Restaurant Brands International—which is owned by Burger King—indicated that 9 out of 10 people who got the fake burger during a trial run earlier this year are meat-eaters. The company said it doesn’t label the Impossible Burger as vegan.
Ashley Byrne, a campaign director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said potential cross-contamination wasn’t a big concern.
“It’s really not about the personal purity of what the products are being cooked next to,” she told Bloomberg. “People are choosing vegan options because they care about animals and the environment. We think that these benefits really override any concerns about cross-contamination—obviously if someone has an allergy or intolerance, that’s different.”
But in addition to Williams and the group that joined him in the suit, a number of people have said they don’t appreciate the burgers being cooked on the same grill as meat. Some said they requested a separate cooking process but were told that wasn’t an option.
Went to @BurgerKing and asked for an impossible burger. I asked for them to cook it on a separate grill or pan since I’m vegetarian and don’t want meat juice on what I’m eating and they replied “we don’t do that here”. What’s the point of having a vegan burger if it’s not vegan?
— lb (@laurenbrcksmith) September 19, 2019
“Went to @BurgerKing and asked for an impossible burger. I asked for them to cook it on a separate grill or pan since I’m vegetarian and don’t want meat juice on what I’m eating and they replied ‘we don’t do that here’. What’s the point of having a vegan burger if it’s not vegan?” one Twitter user said.
Another wrote: “For anyone looking to eat the impossible whopper from Burger King, if you are Vegan do not eat that burger they cook it on the same grill as the regular dead cow burger! #BURGERKING #ImpossibleWhopper Is not vegan.”
Another said: “An Impossible Burger at @BurgerKing is only vegetarian/vegan if they can guarantee that there’s a special grill and special utensils not contaminated by meat juice. Illness by cross-contamination is real, folks.”